Chris J. Peterson
Miller Plant Sciences, Rm 2615
Phone Number:  706-542-3754
Office/Lab:  Miller Plant Sciences, Rm 2606
Phone Number: 

Ph.D Plant Community Ecology, Rutgers University 1992

Research Projects: 

My research interests encompasses several areas related to wind damage to trees and forests: 1) patterns of tree and forest damage, at single-tree, stand, and landscape scales; 2) the patterns of regeneration after wind disturbance; 3) the impact of salvage logging after wind disturbance; 4) individual tree wind firmness; and 5) using tree and forest damage to infer meteorological characteristics of storms.  My long-term goals in relation to wind disturbance research include addressing the impact of these events on carbon cycling at the stand and larger scales.  I also have a small continuing focus on pasture succession and old growth forest dynamics in premontane tropical wet forest in southern Costa Rica.  Finally, I am leading the effort to establish a permanent forest dynamics research plot of 12 ha at the State Botanical Garden near UGA.

Grant Support: 
  • Addressing Interconnections between the built and natural environments through post- event damage surveys.  NOAA, C.J. Peterson, C.M. Godfrey, and F.T. Lombardo, co-PIs. Oct 1, 2015 – Sept. 30, 2016.

  • Addressing Interconnections between the built and natural environments through post- event damage surveys, Part II.  NOAA, C.J. Peterson, C.M. Godfrey, and F.T. Lombardo, co-Pis.  Oct. 1, 2016 – Sept. 30, 2017.

Recent Publications: 
  • Zahawi, R.A., F. Oviedo-Brenes, and C.J. Peterson. 2017. A degradation debt? Large scale shifts in community composition and loss of biomass in a tropical forest fragment after 40 years of isolation. PLOS One, 12: e0183133.
  • Cannon, J.B., C.J. Peterson, J.J. O’Brien, and S.J. Brewer. 2017/2018.  A review and classification of interactions between forest disturbance from wind and fire. Forest Ecology & Management, 406: 381-390.
  • Zenoble, M., and C.J. Peterson. 2017. Remotely visible width and discontinuity of 50 tornado damage paths through forested landscapes.  Electronic Journal of Severe Storms  Meteorology, 12: 1-21.
  • Godfrey, C.M., and C.J. Peterson. 2017. Estimating enhanced Fujita scale levels based on forest damage severity.  Weather & Forecasting, 32: 243-252.
  • Cannon, J.B., J. Hepinstall-Cymerman, C.M. Godfrey, and C.J. Peterson. 2016. Landscape-scale characteristics of forest tornado damage in mountainous terrain.  Landscape Ecology  Doi: 10.1007/s10980-016-0384-8.
  • Nagendra, U.J., and C.J. Peterson. 2016.  Plant-soil feedbacks differ in intact and tornado-damaged areas of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, USA. Plant and Soil, 402(1-2):  103-116.
  • Royo, A. A., C. J. Peterson, J. Stanovick, and W. P. Carson. 2016.  Evaluating the ecological impacts of salvage logging: can natural and anthropogenic disturbances promote coexistence.  Ecology, 97: 1566-1582.
  • Sugiyama, A. and C.J. Peterson. 2015. Transplant experiments reveal the importance of distance from forest edge and inconsistent maternal effects on seedling performance in a pioneer tree species Ficus tonduzii (Moraceae).  Tropics, 24: 91-99.
  • Cannon, J.B., M.J. Barrett, and C.J. Peterson.  2015.  The effect of species, size, failure mode, and fire-scarring on tree stability.  Forest Ecology & Management, 356: 196-203.
  • Peterson, C.J., J.J. Dosch, and W.P. Carson. 2014. Pasture succession in the Neotropics:    Extending the nucleation hypothesis into a matrix discontinuity hypothesis.  Oecologia, 175(4): 1325-1335.
  • Cannon, J. B., J. J. O’Brien, E. L. Loudermilk, M. B. Dickinson, and C. J. Peterson. 2014.  The influence of experimental wind disturbance on forest fuels and fire characteristics. Forest Ecology & Management, 330: 294-303.
  • Sobhani, V.M., M.J. Barrett, and C.J. Peterson. 2014. Robust prediction of treefall pit and mound sizes from tree size across 10 forest blowdowns in eastern North America.  Ecosystems, 17(5): 837-850.
  • Waldron, K., J.-C. Ruel, S. Gauthier, L. DeGrandpre and C.J. Peterson. 2014. Effects of post-windthrow salvage logging on microsites, plant composition and regeneration.  Applied Vegetation Science, 17(2): 323-337.